Amazon’s dream with its Kindle e-reader is to make the device as thin and portable as a piece of paper. With its latest model, the company takes a big step towards achieving that goal.
The new Kindle Oasis, which will start shipping on April 27 and costs $289.99, is Amazon’s most compact e-reader yet. Preorders start immediately.
Amazon says the new Kindle is roughly 30% thinner and 20% lighter than its predecessors. That’s largely thanks to a new design, which features a sloped form factor with a thicker portion on one side resembling a book binding. (The thicker side makes the Oasis easier to grip, while also housing its processor and battery.)
Technological advancements, like display technology that’s as thin as aluminum foil and a frame that’s been crafted using a process known as structural electroplating, also help reduce the Oasis’ width. Electroplating is a technique that enables Amazon to create a single sheet of metal that’s denser in certain areas than others, giving the device more protection in spots that may be prone to damage while maintain a thin overall profile.
The Oasis includes 60% more LED lights than its Kindle Voyage, making it the brightest Kindle display ever.
The Oasis comes with a cover that gives the e-reader an extra seven weeks of battery life, according to Amazon. This leather case is included with the Kindle and comes in black, merlot, and walnut color options.
After having used the Kindle Oasis briefly, I can say that it certainly felt portable and lightweight. Text looked crisp and sharp, and there was no lag when flipping through pages or switching the device between hands. (The Oasis’ accelerometer can tell if you’re holding it in your left or right hand, adjusting the orientation accordingly.) However, the coating on the back of the e-reader gathered fingerprint smudges quickly. This won’t be a problem for those who frequently keep their Kindle in a case.
The Kindle Oasis is a gorgeous, compact e-reader, and an engineering marvel for Amazon. But it’s an expensive device — it’s nearly $100 above the Kindle Voyage, which offers a similar experience in a form factor that’s only slightly larger. Time will tell if the upgrade is worth the higher price.